Northeast Community News – August 22, 2012
Dear Friends and Family,
What a marvelous day we had in the Lord, Sunday! Did you notice? Honestly, I feared you might be getting tired of always hearing that we had a wonderful day in the Lord (even if it’s true), so I looked up some alternative words in my thesaurus for the meaning of wonderful! From marvelous, fantastic, and incredible, to wicked, fab, and killer, I discovered our language has many ways to describe what happens when we come into the presence of a Holy and Awesome God! Hallelujah!
God’s message this week came from Nehemiah 6:1-13 and was titled, “Distractions and Other Dirty Tricks.’ Nehemiah’s enemies were desperate! All that was left to finishing the project was hanging the doors, and the wall would be finished! The nasty thing about the Devil is he never stops trying to stop us, especially when the battle is nearly won and victory for God is in sight!
We discovered three dirty tricks and lots of good advice in our passage today. I am calling dirty trick # 1 ‘schemes that harm’. Sanballat and Geshem have tried to stop the project from early on, and their latest attempt is to call a summit in the middle of nowhere miles from Jerusalem. They don’t just try once, but four times!
At best it is a distraction – at worst, an attempt to lead Nehemiah off to capture or kill him. What distracts you from living for God? What people, places, or things repeatedly try calling you to a place where you can be captured or killed?
Nehemiah responds in two ways. First, he uses his experience to advise him of the scheme (v. 2b) and second, he says no, because he has a passionate yes for God and His ways! Unlike some of us, Nehemiah allowed his experience to guide him away from dark places and let his love for God become his primary purpose!
Dirty trick # 2 is ‘lies, rumors, and blackmail.’ After trying to lure Nehemiah out of Jerusalem for a summit four times and failing, Sanballat sends an open letter (vv. 6-7) to Nehemiah filled with lies, rumors, and a veiled threat. He responds with a flat denial and prayer! Be warned! When you build God’s kingdom the enemy will use anything to stop you, including lies, rumors and blackmail!
Nehemiah’s flat denial is among my favorite verses: “…Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head (Neh. 6:8)” When you face false accusations flatly deny them and turn it over to God!
Dirty trick # 3 is called false teachers and false teaching. Somehow Sanballat and Tobiah bribed a religious leader to tell Nehemiah a false prophecy (vv. 10-13) in order to discredit him. It was the most devious plot because if anyone wanted to please God it was Nehemiah. But the prophet told Nehemiah to sin to avoid being murdered! But Nehemiah knew God, His Word, and knew He could be trusted! He knew that God would never ask him to sin to fulfill his will (vv. 12-13)!
Nehemiah isn’t the only one who faces false teaching. There are many Christian leaders today teaching questionable and objectionable teaching. How can you be sure you aren’t being misled? Know God, His Word, and learn to trust Him!
This week’s Wednesday night adult study begins a 10-week study called ‘Going Deeper.’ The first lesson is titled ‘Sharing Your Faith.’ In this lesson we will explore some guidelines and suggestions to help you share your testimony and your faith! Join us at 6:30pm to discuss the importance of sharing our faith! See you Wednesday!
Blessings! Pastor Dan
Hello From Pastor Amy/Your Part-Time Church Secretary
My office hours will be on Tuesdays from 8am-5pm, but if you need to see me, you may want to call first. My responsibilities also include preparing our weekly program, so if you have an event that you would like to put in the program or newsletter, please feel free to contact me!
On Prayer Requests: If you have a specific praise or prayer request which you would like to appear in the program and/or newsletter, please make sure to fill out the tear-off sheet in the weekly program, or contact me at any time.
Please Update Me! We have a long, ongoing list of prayer requests. Please keep me updated. Requests will be pulled from the newsletter & program after 3 weeks. Thank you!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~NEWS & EVENTS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Compassionate Ministries Food Drive Coming! October 7-13
Access of West Michigan has facilitated a food drive to support 60+ Kent County food pantries like North End Community Ministry (NECM) for many years. Every month, pantries (like NECM) serve over 20,000 people who have no other place to turn for help. Last year food collection dropped from 100 to 60 tons annually and they are seeking new ways to get critically needed food and personal care items.
Can you help? Between Sunday Oct. 07 and Saturday Oct 13 our local Compassionate Ministry team led by Janie Hathaway will be collecting food for the countywide food drive. All the food we collect will go to NECM and will stay in our neighborhood helping hungry people right here!
Want more information? See Pastor Dan or check out this link for the flyer! Access Flyer
Game Night – Thursday, September 6th @ 6:00pm
Want something to do on a Thursday night? Show up at the church at 6pm for games and food. Bring your favorite game, some chips or pop, your kids and your friends – everyone is welcome! Once everyone arrives, we will order pizza from across the street. The cost is typically about $3 per person for pizza if you are able to chip in – but if not, there will be plenty to go around. We will meet in the annex upstairs – see you there!
Healing Service Planned – Saturday, September 22 @ 6:00pm
In the church of the Nazarene, we believe that part of Jesus’ ministry to us is that of healing. In this service we will be considering the need for healing in all realms, that of the physical, but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual. Please join us for this special service and allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart and life. Everyone is invited to attend, please feel free to bring friends and family members.
Monthly Work Days Planned! Can You Help?
The trustees are planning to hold monthly workdays beginning in August to take care of our building and grounds. There is always work to be done, from painting to raking to cleaning and repairs and everything in between. No matter what your skill level, the guys can put you to work! The workdays will be held on the LAST Saturdays of the month from 9am-12pm. Talk to Pat Parsaca or Theo Orban with questions or to help.
August Work Day: THIS Saturday, August 25th
Northeast Community Walking/Jogging Club
Do you like to walk or jog and wish you had some friends to walk with? Do you need to loose a few pounds, make a few friends, or just want to hang out with a few Christians and have a few laughs while getting a little exercise? If you said yes to any or all of those questions we have good news for you!
Starting Tuesday Aug. 28 through Nov. 20 we are gathering at the church at 6:00pm and then going to a nearby walking trail to walk or jog 5k or 3.1 miles for 13 weeks! Of course, during the weeks of ArtPrize we will be walking downtown! If you walk all 13 weeks you will have traveled 65k or 40 miles! You can do this!
Interested? Let Pastor Dan know or just show up and get some fresh air with good friends! Everyone is welcome! Our pace will be set by those who show up!
A Night of Christ-Centered Testimony
Pastor Amy is planning an alternative service on Saturday October 20th at 6:00pm. Come and hear what God is doing in the lives of his people! We always hear the good news from the preachers and “professional” clergy, right? Well this is a night where you can hear great stories from all kinds of people about how awesome Christ really is. This is a great time to invite friends, family, neighbors, or anyone else who could use some good news.
Pastor Amy is looking for volunteers to speak for 10-20 minutes about how Christ has changed their life. If you are reading this and know that this call is to you, please see me! Also please note that this will be a casual night, and you do not need to be polished or profound at public speaking to share your heart for Christ! Won’t you pray you about it?
Three Kids are Going to Chuckie Cheese!!
When the dust settled 3 of our 11 children read all 6 children’s missionary books last year (June 2010-May 2011) and won a trip to Chuckie Cheese at Pastor Dan’s expense! (ouch!) Congratulations go to ALANNAH PARSACA, BRADLEE TOOLE, and KARLEE TOOLE for all their HARD WORK! You three set an example for all of us! May we all grasp the importance of reading our missionary books! Thanks to everyone who read to the kids, encouraged them to read, and believed in them! ATTENTION KIDS! Want to go to Chuckie Cheese next year? Start reading this year’s children’s missionary books! Let’s see if we can send 10 kids next year!
Don’t Forget to Sign up! MEIJER COMMUNITY REWARDS
Jean Christoffersen recently told us of a program at Meijer’s that gives a small portion of money (.5%-1%) of most purchases back to non-profits like Northeast Community Church of the Nazarene! The Meijer website states:
Meijer Community Rewards was developed to meet our customers' growing desire to support k-12 schools and religious groups in ways that don't stretch their budget...or their time. Your k-12 school or religious organization can now raise group funds without administrative costs or sales of any kind!
So, after signing up Northeast Community Church of the Nazarene up and being approved we are pleased to announce you can now help us doing what many of us do already – shop at Meijer!
For those who have a Meijer Credit Card or choose to get one we receive 1% cash back. For those who use a Debit Card we receive .5% cash back. Unfortunately, we receive nothing for those of you who use a check or a non-Meijer Credit Card.
To participate you DO NOT need to attend our church! So, if you have friends or family members that want to help Northeast Community, well, that’s just great!
To sign up you need to go to the Meijer website (link below) and sign up. You will have several options. 1) sign up for a Meijer credit card, 2) sign up for a Meijer One card, or 3) if you already have a Meijer credit card you can ‘link it’ to our Church so you purchases will automatically be credited to us. Please know we aren’t ‘pushing’ credit cards! We just want you to know all of your options!
To complete your application online you will need our organization # 214242. No Internet access? No problem! Paper applications can be found outside the sanctuary or inside any Meijer store. Simply ask for a ‘Community Rewards’ application from the Customer Service counter!
To find out more about Meijer Community Rewards click here:http://www.meijer.com/rewards/
To sign up for the program click here: (remember our code is 214242)http://www.meijer.com/mcr/choose_card.jsp
God bless you for participating! If you have any questions, call Pastor Dan at the church at 616-459-2773 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
School Pal-Paks Drive!
The Church of the Nazarene operates numerous primary schools around the world, providing quality education for children. Unfortunately, children around the world often do not have the supplies needed for school. In countries with economic challenges, families cannot afford to purchase supplies, and sometimes siblings have to share supplies.
In response to this need, Nazarene Missions International partnered with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Inc to provide School Pal-Paks.
We will be collecting supplies through the end of August. Please use the shopping list provided in the bulletins this Sunday, or you can give money to Janie Hathaway or Irene Pratt who will shop for supplies. Shopping lists can also be found by the missions bulletin boards in the back of the annex.
Where can you buy the supplies CHEAP???
1 package of 10-12 #2 Pencils – Office Max 79 cents
1 package of 10-12 black pens – Office Max $1; Dollar Store $1
Pink erasers – OfficeMax 75 cents for a 3 pack; Office Depot 25 cents; Dollar Store $1
Ruler – OfficeMax 5 cents; Target 49 cents; Dollar Store $1; most stores have cheap rulers
Colored pencils (12-15 count) – Target 49 cents; Dollar Store $1; Meijer 97 cents; Staples $2
Pencil sharpener – hand held not battery or electric – Office Depot 25 cents; Office Max 10 cents; Dollar Store
Blunt end scissors – OfficeMax 50 cents; Office Depot $1; Dollar Store $1
Composition notebooks – OfficeMax up to 5 free if you spend $5; Staples $1; Dollar Store $1
Come to the Fire 2012
Olivet Nazarene University is hosting the 2012 Come to the Fire Women’s retreat from October 11-13. This is an amazing opportunity for women to fellowship and be spiritually nurtured in a powerful way. Check out the poster on the bulletin board, and there are also brochures on the table for more information. We want ALL WOMEN to know that we are already planning for hotels, food, etc! So if you are interested, please talk to Janie Hathaway or Pastor Amy.
Registration Deadline + $25 non-refundable deposit due by: September 9th
Praise Team Singers Wanted!
Would you like to sing with Pastor Dan on Sunday morning? One commented they ‘didn’t know they could join me’ and she was surprised. Pastor Dan would love to see more folks use their gift of singing with him on Sundays. All he requires is a humble spirit, a willingness to attend practice on Wednesday night after bible study and Sunday morning at 9:00am, and a desire to worship God! Interested? Let Pastor Dan know!
Want to help, but not sure how?
If you are wondering where to plug in, but are not sure how, we have opportunities. Current opportunities include a soundboard worker, nursery helpers, children's workers, potluck coordinators, visiting our shut-ins, greeters and ushers, visitor follow-ups, Sunday School teachers, music leaders, people willing to shovel snow in the winter, and much more. It doesn’t matter how long you have been attending our church, serving is a great way to honor God and get to know the people around you! If you sense a call to a specific area or need some ideas to pray about, please contact Amy Orban or Cherry Pakiela or Irene Pratt.
August 25 Church Work Day 9am-12pm
August 26 Last Sunday for School Pal Paks donations
August 28 Walking/Jogging Club begins @ 6pm
September 2 Communion Sunday/Family Church
September 6 Game Night @ 6pm
September 7 First Friday Chinese Lunch
September 9 Registration for Come to the Fire Retreat
September 22 Healing Service @ 6pm
October 7 Compassionate Ministries Food Drive Begins
October 11-13 Come to the Fire Retreat @ ONU
October 13 Compassionate Ministries Food Drive Ends
October 20 Testimony Service @ 6pm
Reflections from Pastor Amy
Weekly thoughts, life-lessons, and reflections from a redeemed child of God, a mother,
a wife, a sinner under the Cross of Jesus Christ, and a Pastor-in-training.
August 21, 2012
We sang a song on Sunday that has been resonating with me all week:
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand…..All other ground is sinking sand….
(Sing to the Lord #436)
So what is the sinking sand for you? Here are a few of my own personal quicksand situations:
Taking other people’s moral inventory. Christ reminds us to be concerned about our own sin and shortcomings before we point out those of the people around us. (See Matthew 7:3-5). When I focus on the ways in which the people around me are all imperfect, (and they are, every single one of them!), I do a couple of things to myself. For one, I separate myself from them – as if I am better, I am superior, I am smarter, etc. For two, I presuppose that I know what is best for them and thus turn myself into a little min-god who has all the answers to all the problems I see in my little Amy-god-world. Thus my anchor becomes not in Christ, but in my own thinking (very scary), my own perception (scarier yet), and the perceived performance of myself and others. The solution? Anchor in Christ. Look to Him to mold me, and trust Him with others, too.
The cup is half empty. It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining. My kids are playing outside in the green grass, there is a rainbow in the sky, they pick me flowers and bring them to me and tell me they love me and that I am the best mom in the world. My husband comes home from his job, which abundantly provides for us, kisses me on the cheek, and we eat a hearty meal together as a family. We pray together in thanks to the God of providence who blesses us constantly. We put our children to bed in their warm, soft beds. We recline on our comfy couches, snack on chocolate and talk about the ways God is moving in our life.
But then – there is a fly buzzing around the room. I grab a newspaper and kill it. The smeared fly guts remain on the window. I can’t stop looking at the fly guts. Stupid fly guts. Stupid flies. On my clean window. The fly guts become my focus and I am blind to an entire day of blessings.
Find one thing wrong in a sea of right things and you can bet that I will obsess about the one wrong thing until it is the only thing I can see. My anchor becomes my external circumstances, which are chronically disappointing because they are chronically imperfect and always will be. The solution? Anchor in Christ. Oh Jesus be my vision, give me your eyes to see the blessings which are constantly around me! Make me aware and reveal your goodness to me!
Me, Myself, and I. This includes but it is not limited to: self-centered fear, constant verbal or mental assessments of my own feelings about everything, the need to talk about me and my problems and my concerns to anyone who will listen, mentally obsessing about fears and things I can’t control, having racing thoughts of self-pity, martyrdom, and other I-am-the-center-of-the-
universe kind of nonsense.
This one can cover a lot of areas, but here is what it boils down to: I am at my WORST when I am thinking about myself. I am at my BEST when I am living for something beyond ME, specifically, when I focus on Christ and, as a result, on the well-being of the people around me.
The solution? Anchor in Christ. As John the Baptist said “He must become greater, I must become less” (John 3:30) Death to the me-self is Christ’s call to us, and only when we take our eyes of off ourselves and put them on Him and on the needs of the people around us do we live fully. It is much harder to think about me when I am thinking instead about His greatness. Freedom from self – blessed riddance!
Doing all things through me who strengthens me. I am a mother of two busy children, a wife, a home maker, a pastor, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, a friend, a daughter, a mentor as well as one who receives mentoring, a full time student, a preacher, a church secretary and board member, and a frail sinner who sometimes can’t think straight. And once in awhile I like to get some sleep, too. Perhaps it is the American way, but don’t most of us feel like we have too much on our plates and not nearly enough time?
Someone wiser than me told me this morning that instead of thinking “How can I possibly get all of this stuff done?” perhaps I should start thinking something more like “I wonder how God is going to make this possible.” Do you suffer from the kind of pride I suffer from, the kind that whispers I can do this, I don’t need help? This is another symptom of the me, myself, and I life.
The solution? Anchor in Christ. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). If Christ strengthens me, and if WE (the community of believers) are in fact the hands and feet of Christ, then it would logically follow to pray in faith for help, and then to accept it when it comes, from the people around me whom He has blessed me by placing in my life for this time and this place. Oh God help – help me ask for help – help me receive help – that I might be more useful to you!
So do you believe that Christ is our solid rock, and that all other ground is sinking sand? Let me say that again – do you believe that Christ is our ONLY solid rock, and that ALL OTHER GROUND is sinking sand?
So your kids, your parents, your friends, your job, your self-reliance, your co-dependent relationships, your feelings, your perceptions, your external circumstances, all the good things you do for others, your spouse, your dog, your arguments and justifications, your smart-phone, your degree and education, your success, your failure, your retirement and savings accounts – ALL sinking sand compared to Christ? Even your presence in the church building, in Sunday school and Bible study is sinking sand if it does not come from Christ as your solid rock. Even the pleasant masks we wear won’t save us from the quicksand if we aren’t anchored in Christ.
Do you believe it? Is He your solid rock? Or is something else playing a poor substitute? Only Christ can fill our God-sized hole my friends, only Christ.